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Cucumbers are principally grown for two crops: fresh (slicing) and pickles (pickling). They supply texture and variety to meals and are a source of vitamin K.

The Cucumber Breeding Program led by Yiqun Weng at the USDA ARS Vegetable Crops Research Unit (VCRU) and Horticulture Department  of the University of Wisconsin Madison aims to understand the genetics of traits that are important for cucumber growers and consumers. These traits include resistance to bacterial, fungal, or nematode pathogens and fruit quality characteristics such as texture, smell, and taste. The program applies this understanding toward the development of genetic and genomic resources and molecular tools to accelerate cucumber breeding for different market groups.

Cucumbers growing on vines in a greenhouse

Pickling cucumber growing in greenhouses at the USDA-ARS Madison greenhouse facility.

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